I turned around and realized that the summer is more than halfway over. It still amazes me how quickly that happens. When the boys were younger and we would send them to camp, visiting day always marked the beginning of the end of summer. Oh how I enjoyed visiting day! The long line of cars waiting to get in, the overpacking of various sundries that the boys “had to have,” seeing the same people who ignore me all year round and having them ignore me even in the extreme heat and humidity.
And then there was the annual trip for pizza and ice cream.
That last one was always the most interesting. Some years they charged by the slice, and some years you had to buy by the pie. And the pie cost almost as much as a week of camp. And they only took cash. And we ate there anyway. Best parents ever.
Oh, lest I forget, there also was the whole table situation. If you got a table without an umbrella, you were guaranteed sunburn or getting stuck in a torrential downpour. I still remember one year when it poured the entire visiting day. In a previous column, I had the joy of mocking the fancy, skinny, Island of Long lady who, for some reason unbeknownst to me, thought short shorts and boots were the look of the season. I don’t think those boots made it through the rainstorms…oh well. In any event, we did what we did to make our kids happy, and they usually were. The challenge for me was finding a bathroom that I could fit in and was relatively clean. Since that discussion might be too TMI (too much information), I won’t go into detail. Needless to say, some years I was more successful than others.
And then there was the drive home. No matter when you left, it always took way too long. Painfully long. Even with the shortcut that someone had told us about, it was always bad. But it was a rite of passage, like so many other things you do that you think will never end, but then they do. Some of those things you miss, but some you rejoice are over. Though, when you have an empty nest, I still think there should be some kind of visiting day, just to catch up with your kids. Hey, that’s a great idea — they should come visit us and bring us all of the stuff that we ask for. I think that is a wonderful idea. I will let you know how that works out.
Back to the current summer.
Color war is breaking out at Camp Babka this week. Strudel is on the red team because the only color war song I remember is from when I was on the red team in Camp Seneca Lake. (Don’t ask. I was a counselor and it was a very interesting summer.) The song went to “I’m Still Standing,” the Elton John classic. This summer’s challenges include the Cheerio-eating Obstacle Course, the Sippy Cup Challenge, and the Changing Table Dump.
The Cheerio Obstacle Course is designed to have the campers cruise around the coffee table, picking up and eating cheerios as they go. A local pediatric nurse practitioner came up with that challenge. The team gets a point for each consumed cheerio. The Sippy Cup Challenge requires each team member to hold the sippy cup in his/her mouth(who am I kidding, there is only one team member and it is a her) and crawl back and forth while drinking at the same time. The first member to finish her water wins 20 points. And then, my personal favorite, the Changing Table Dump. In the time it takes to change the team member’s diaper, the judges will see how many objects they are able to throw on the floor, ranging from Desitin to clothes to stuffed animals to clean diapers. Basically, whatever they can get their cute little hands on. Bonus points for objects thrown clear across the room and additional bonus points for anything that lands in the garbage can next to the changing table.
Yes, Camp Babka is a lot of fun. Too bad my little Strudel won’t remember it, but, God willing, I hope that I will. Hope you are all enjoying your summer months.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is not running a licensed camp. Please do not report her, like the year that someone ratted out all of those basement nursery programs…did anyone ever find out who that was?